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THE TABERNACLE ERECTED AND ARRANGED
About one year had elapsed after the Passover in Egypt. Now the Lord instructs Moses to set up the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. The first article of furniture then mentioned is the ark (v.3), to be placed inside the tabernacle, for this speaks of Christ as the Sustainer of the throne of God. Therefore it had a place of real separation, for it had to be separate even from the table, the lampstand and the incense altar, for these three involve something in which believers take part, whereas the throne of God is altogether above any creature participation. It speaks of God solely and absolutely in authority. The veil then was to be a partition between the ark and all that was in the outer sanctuary.
Then the table that was to be brought in, the bread arranged in order and its utensils put in their place; and the lampstand set in its place with the lamps lit. Then the altar of incense was to be put before the veil, and the screen (the hanging for the door) fastened up on its pillars (vs.4-5).
Outside, the altar of burnt offering was to be put before the door of the tabernacle, the laver put between the altar and the door, with water put in it. Then the pillars for the court were to be set up, with hangings of fine linen to encircle the entire court except for the entrance where other hangings of blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen were put up (vs.6-8).
The anointing oil was then used for anointing the tabernacle and all that was in it, the burnt offering altar and its utensils, the laver and its base. The priests were to be washed, clothed, anointed and consecrated, as described fully in Leviticus 8:1-3.8.36.
Verses 1 to 15 declare the instructions of God to Moses, and verse 16 tells us that Moses did simply as the Lord commanded. The details of the raising up of the tabernacle are then repeated in verses 18 to 33. The fact that these things are so often repeated indicates their importance in the eyes of God, so that it is well if we meditate upon all these details. Thus all the work was done, "as God commanded Moses."
THE CLOUD OF GOD'S PRESENCE
A pillar of cloud had previously gone before Israel (Exodus 13:21) to lead them: now the cloud covers the tabernacle and the glory of God fills it. Not even Moses could enter the tabernacle then. But God was assuring Israel of the reality of His presence with them on the basis of all that the tabernacle signified.
From that time the cloud remained over the tabernacle so long as God decreed it was to stay in one place. When it was time to journey, God took the cloud up and by it led Israel in the way He chose for them. By night, however, a pillar of fire replaced the cloud, whether they traveled or remained stationary. All was to be left in God's hand.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Exodus 40". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany